Kmart and Big W

The women who make our clothes do not make enough to live on – keeping them in poverty. Despite long hours away from their families, working full time plus hours of overtime, big brands do not pay them enough money to cover the basics of life – food and shelter.

Australian clothing brands like Big W and Kmart are part of the system that has created this injustice. Big brands fuel the payment of poverty wages, so the women who make our clothes don’t make enough money to live on.

Research shows that right now, just 40 cents of the price of a $10 t-shirt goes towards the wages of the women who made the t-shirt. It would cost less than 1% of the retail price – that’s less than 10 cents for a $10 t-shirt – for big brands do the right thing and pay living wages to the women who make our clothes.

It is now time for brands to publicly commit to paying living wages and we ask these brands to develop credible, transparent, time-bound plans to map out how they will achieve this goal.

A living wage is not a luxury or a privilege; it is a universal human right — for every working person around the world, including the women who make our clothes.

What have Kmart and Big W committed to so far?

Kmart and Big W have taken some steps in the right direction for workers’ rights. They have both taken their factory lists out of hiding, revealling exactly where their clothes are made.

Kmart has taken the step of joining ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation), a joint fashion industry and IndustriALL initiative that aims to lift wages and achieve living wages for workers.

Big W is part of the Woolworths Group, and they have a line in their corporate strategy that says the company will move towards living wages, not just minimum wages.

But neither company has has taken the next essential step for a strong and credible commitment to living wages: setting a timeframe and showing us their plans to make it happen.

Together, let’s make Kmart and Big W turn their promises into reality: they must make credible, time-bound commitments to living wages now.